Southall Riot
(Originally appeared in Probemusic, May 2001)

Their debut 7" received "rave, mass, critical acclaim.. not really" but was enough to hook them up with Earworm records, that hostel for the terminally distracted, the psychedelic daydreamers and those musically-obsessive moody fuckers who hassle you in record shops.

Philm works in a well-known record shop in Notting Hill Gate: "I'm one of the moody fuckers who abuse you when you're buying records." He is also one half of Southall Riot and their back-bedroom Victory Garden record label. After self-releasing Into The Chicago Abyss in 1998 several low-scale mind-bending releases for the Earworm label followed. The archetype, if there is such a thing for a band so joyously scattershot, being A Warp In My Dreams. That's dreams involving the Mary Chain's "Upside Down," an obvious Brian Wilson fetish, a huge fuzz bass, an ultra-reverb vocal and a warp, of course. It was catchier than Foot and Mouth but sold like British Beef.

On the back of this success the band were almost rampant on the London gig circuit, clocking up three gigs in as many years. In May they head out on the road with Japan's Acid Mothers Temple collective for eight dates in ten days. How did they get on the tour? "The promoters needed a band who were young, fit, stylish and had a drum kit. The deciding factor was that we've got a drum kit."

The trap set is about the only thing that's constant in the live band. "By the time we play Manchester, we'll have had five drummers in seven gigs…it's very Spinal Tap." Their preferred drummer is in the Czech Republic until June, the drummer for the Acid Mothers tour can't make the Irish dates and their stand-in Irish drummer can't make the Belfast gig.

Should be a laugh. What can a curious punter expect from Southall Riot live? "We listen to a hell of a lot of music and we just try to do something better. Writing a song is a very fucking simple art. A song has been done so many times but there are so many bands who won't branch out from it. Southall Riot are not one of them." It’s the difference between artisans and artists. "Or art and entertainment." So are they an art-rock band? "Unfortunately.. yes. We don't want it to be chin-stroking, we want people to come along to our gigs and have a good time. But at the same time we don't want to be Oasis."

Southall Riot are warming-up for their tour at RoTa on Saturday May 12th. Hot Chip's Mexico EP is out now on Victory Garden records. www.victorygardenrecords.co.uk


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